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VOICE OVER: Ty Richardson WRITTEN BY: Ty Richardson
You may have thought you were in for mindless fun, but these games tricked us into learning. Welcome to MojoPlays, and today, we're taking a look at 10 games that had the audacity to teach us things! Our list of games that tricked you into learning includes “Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth” (2024), the “Persona” series (1996-), “Kerbal Space Program” (2015), the “Assassin's Creed” series (2007-), and more!

10 Games That TRICKED YOU Into Learning

Welcome to MojoPlays, and today, we’re taking a look at 10 games that had the audacity to teach us things! We’re not here for school - we’re here to play video games!!

“Cities: Skylines” (2015)

On the surface, “Cities: Skylines” looks like your average city management game. It's a successor to “SimCity”, and it’s a really good one! But once you jump in, you’ll find that it is a lot more complicated than that. Turns out city infrastructure is more complex than simply “place road here, put building there”, and it really is that difficult in real life. There is a science to it to such an insane degree that some players will jokingly say how you need an engineering degree to be able to play it. Good luck with however you decide to guide traffic!

“Hearts of Iron IV” (2016)

“Hearts of Iron IV” is one of many games set in World War II, but the way it goes about it gives more perspective on how it all went down. Sure, you can play the game normally and get a general feel for it, or you can live out your own alternate history by playing as one of the other factions. But if you want to participate and really see how things really happened, there is a difficulty known as “Historical AI”. Under this setting, all of your opponents will play out just as each army did during the course of WWII. The only flaw here is that they won’t react to your own doings and play strictly by what did happen instead of what would happen. Still, it’s neat how “Hearts of Iron IV” shoved a history lesson into our time.

“Persona” series (1996-)

School is such a big part of the “Persona” games, way bigger than you might think at first. In addition to your normal stats used in battle, you have a few social stats you need to work on during your school life, some of them being Courage, Charm, Academics, and others. These stats are much more important than one would initially think as they will allow you to shop at lower prices, access new areas, and talk to certain individuals, thus possibly leading to more opportunities for side quests and powers. In order to take full advantage of these, you absolutely need to pay attention in class, study at appropriate times, and do well on your exams. “Persona” does ask real-life questions, too, so you could say “Persona” is very much an “edutainment” game.

“Chants of Senaar” (2023)

The most important lesson is that if you want anything in life, you need to learn how to communicate. The power of words matters greatly, and “Chants of Senaar” is here to give a language lesson. For the entire game, you will have to decipher speech and text in order to figure out how to progress. Every symbol means something different, and eventually, you’ll learn how two symbols can propose a different meaning when together. Perhaps this will help some of you on your Duolingo practice in deduction and memorization.

“Kerbal Space Program” (2015)

Ever taken a lesson in rocket science? If you played “Kerbal Space Program”, you absolutely have. The goofy nature of the game makes it seem like it's a game of crash test dummies from the outside looking in. On the contrary, it is quite literally rocket science. You can’t just pile on a bunch of boosters and call it a day. “Kerbal Space Program” shows players the challenge in designing rockets for space travel. Every detail in the rocket’s design, from the weight to the geometry of the rocket itself, can determine whether your pilots survive their trip or not. And if this game determined whether we pass or flunk astronaut school, you know we flunked more times than we can count.

“Psychonauts 2” (2021)

“Psychonauts 2”, for all of its witty humor and focus on 3D platforming, is an incredible translation of concepts in psychology to game design. Yes, you will explore many minds affected by mental disorders like addiction, depression, and paranoia. However, some aspects of psychology are taught by making them a part of the game’s mechanics. One shining example of this is when you are tasked with determining a subject’s logic and reasoning behind their behavior. In a way, “Psychonauts 2” can actually help in understanding how others might think differently from you and how different mental disorders can affect them in ways outside of your perception.

“Assassin’s Creed” series (2007-)

One of the biggest draws of the “Assassin’s Creed” games is how they manage to accurately portray different corners of the globe according to different historical periods. Not only do they reflect significant aspects of each country’s culture, some of the games even include key historical figures. The most famous example of these is Leonardo da Vinci in “Assassin’s Creed II”, who helps Ezio by equipping him with the Hidden Blade and giving him a plethora of different inventions to use. Some of the later games lean a bit too heavily into the supernatural, but for the most part, you can consider these games a light lesson in world history and culture. Just don’t think it’ll help you wing your real-life tests.

“Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth” (2024)

Whereas all of our entries focus specifically on sciences, you could say “Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth” is the potpourri entry on our list. Most of the “Yakuza/Like a Dragon” games have lessons both life and academic throughout their substories. What makes “Infinite Wealth” so special? Well, it’s the fact that taking exams is one of the many side activities you can partake in. For a few hundred bucks, you can take tests on marine biology, Hawaiian culture, geography, athletics, liquor and bartending, and even two exams dedicated to SEGA history. Passing these exams can grant a big boost to your stats, too, so you might want to consider tackling every one of them.

“Portal” series (2007-12)

The “Portal” games are unique in how they have actually been used in the classroom on a few occasions! Indeed, the physics in “Portal” and its sequel are so good that you can use them to teach a variety of concepts regarding physical science. From laws of physics to spatial reasoning, you’ll get a grasp of various concepts just from playing these games. Various organizations have suggested ways teachers can use “Portal” in schools, and Valve even went so far as to offer schools free copies of “Portal 2” so they may teach students through the in-game level editor. You can also find guides on what concepts the games can help educate students on!

“Minecraft” (2011)

Like “Portal”, “Minecraft” has also found its way into the classroom several times over, and it still has a presence in some corners. There are entire websites dedicated to helping teachers integrate the game into schools, and even on their own, students can learn a great deal about engineering and logistics through the simple yet limitless use of redstone. Search up “Minecraft redstone” on YouTube, and you will find an endless stream of videos of players making TNT cannons, automatic doors, hidden passageways in staircases, fully functioning Game Boys and computers, and much, much more. You can spend hours digging into all the different machinations people have put together, and it may change the way you see “Minecraft” as a whole.

Was there a game that helped inspire your academic pursuits? Let us know down in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to MojoPlays for more great videos everyday!